The Standing Desk Experiment

As I write this, I’m dancing at my desk. Yes, literally dancing from side to side. A wonderful side affect of this new standing desk idea, and probably a little bit of a workout too. So I had planned to try this for at least a week, using an empty legal paper box as the “desk” to see if I’d like it before spending money. Well after about 3 hours, I ordered it. I LOVE IT!  It won’t arrive until tomorrow (thanks Amazon Prime!) so in the meantime, my legal box will do.

Standing Desk 2

Standing Desk 1

I had read about the benefits of standing at your desk versus sitting, but finally decided to pull the trigger.  Here’s a great article about it:  Standing Desks Sit Well With More Employees

So it seems I’m the first “lone soldier” at my company, and so far, lots of people have stopped by and expressed interest in trying it.  I guess we’d better order more legal paper!

More soon when the new desk arrives.

5-Months Old!

I can’t believe it’s been 5-months since my little angel was born!

5 months

So you’re probably wondering how I’m doing with the post-baby weight-loss, since that is the origin of my blog.  Well, I should have listened to everyone and not put so much wasted effort into it while still breastfeeding!  Too much frustrating yo-yo dieting, only to realize the minute I start cutting too much, I lose milk supply.  Of course, her health is most important, so I stopped trying so hard… but then how to tame the cookie monster that will forever live inside me?  No easy task.  As everyone else told me the weight would start falling off after 4-5 months, and it did.

But alas, I’m about 6-pounds from my pre-baby weight, and most of my clothes fit again, although it feels like so much further because I think I’ve lost muscle mass too.  So… I’ve decided to embrace my softer self, enjoy my baby, and when she’s done with needing me for food, I’ll hit it hard again.

Next up, VACATION NEXT WEEK (woohoo!) and I’m going to experiment with a Standing Desk versus sitting all day.  I will post soon with the results!

Mom Jeans

So I wrote this last week and apparently forgot to publish…

I was in such a rush this morning that I almost didn’t notice that for the first time in about 8-months, I was able to button my favorite black pre-pregnancy pants. No more stretchy hair band needed to fasten the button! I was also quite shocked yesterday to slip into some smallish size jeans at one of my favorite stores. Since I don’t have a single pair of jeans right now that fit well, it was finally time to invest in a new pair. My seemingly-tiny old jeans (funny they didn’t seem so tiny a year ago), tease me from the closet every day. Time to hide those away for a while!

That is definitely one thing that was not well communicated – you may not fit into your old clothes for a while! Somehow we all think we will have the baby and bounce back quickly. I think I’ve bounced back more than most (judging from the frequent comments I get), but I still have several extra inches in my waist and hips that just don’t work with most of my very fitted pre-baby wardrobe. Oh well – look at this little face!!! I think I fall more in love every day…

 

2 months

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Getting off my usual topic for this week (partly because I’m trying to break my obsession with my diet)… lately I have become fascinated by the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle movement, mostly as it relates to our stuff.  Several things have prompted these thoughts…

reduce-reuse-recycle

First, just look around.  We ALL have too much stuff.  When you walk or drive down any suburban street, you’ll notice most of the garages are packed full, sometimes meaning the cars do not fit.  I especially hated walking on garbage night because inevitably I would see perfectly good items tossed to the curb and for some reason my heart ached for these once-loved and now discarded items.  The one that still haunts me was a plant.  Yes, someone had put a nice, big, healthy-looking houseplant by the curb with the trash.  Had I not been in the process of moving, I think I would have gone back to save it.  Why not put a “curb-alert” on social media or Craigslist to get rid of unwanted stuff instead of just dumping it??

Second, when I walk into a traditional store, I am often overwhelmed by the amount of stuff crammed onto racks and shelves, mostly clothes.  Do we really need all of this!?  What’s more, all of this stuff usually feels very generic and common, like it’s the same thing that tons of other people are wearing.  I don’t want to be generic!  The last several times I have walked into one of these such stores, I walked out empty-handed.

Next there’s me and my own family.  Oh yeah, we are the classic example of too much stuff, some of which comes from other family members who have passed on or down-sized, and for some reason we hang on to, as if half their household is part of a special memory.  I have always been very stressed and uncomfortable around clutter, so I have faithfully purged my own home since I became an adult, frequently making drops at Goodwill or similar, feeling good about myself for helping the less fortunate.  Then one day I suddenly became aware that much of what I donated ended up in the garbage or shipped overseas.  (Sad but true, Google it.)  I had carefully cleaned and hung the clothing I was donating, and the associate tossed them onto the floor of a dirty trailer.  Needless to say, I took them back and have been mostly selling/trading/donating directly to those that want my used clothing ever since.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some of these stores do a great service to our community, but they are a business too and they get more than they can sell.

And then there’s the baby.  Good grief, they come with a lot of stuff!!!  I had several baby showers, and told everyone we welcomed pre-loved items, but nope, I got all new (plus a few awesome homemade things!).  Not that I wasn’t grateful, but there is so much great used kid’s stuff to be had!  I think there are generations of social stigma to get over – not being able to give a used gift.  While pregnant, I told my grandmother I was going to buy a few maternity outfits second-hand since I wouldn’t wear them long and she thought that was a terrible idea because I could afford better and would feel better about myself with something lovely and new from a nice store.  Um, I wouldn’t feel better about the cost of something I planned to only wear briefly.  I actually got quite a bit from my Mom from when I was a kid.  My mother-in-law used to give everyone in the family a “garage sale gift” at Christmas.  I have a new appreciation for this now!

These days, my husband and I go out o our way to find good homes for things versus just dumping at a thrift store, and never dumping for the trash, but we still have so much opportunity.  I’m actually thinking of challenging myself to see how long I can go without buying any new stuff, aside from basic household necessities (like tp and lightbulbs).

Check out this very interesting article on this subject.  I especially enjoyed the comments.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2011/04/should-only-poor-people-shop-at-thrift-stores/

apparel diet

Green Smoothies

Anybody that knows me, or is friends with me on MyFitnessPal, knows that I am slightly obsessed with drinking my meals, and lately that means lots of green smoothies ! They are the perfect breakfast-on-the-go, packed with most of my daily fruit and vegetable needs and if made right, taste great!

These days I mostly just make up my own recipes based on what I have on-hand.  Once you master the art of the perfect smoothie (see picture below), you no longer need a recipe.  However, even I like a little inspiration every once in a while.  My inspiration for this week is coconut butter… I never thought to add that to my smoothies!  So today I whipped up frozen strawberries and peaches with spinach, kale and coconut butter.  Yummy!

vitamix-smoothie-list

So while researching for this blog, I came across the below article and am dumbfounded.  It seems like every time we turn around we’re being told something we thought was good for us is now bad for us.  How in the world can eating leafy greens now be bad for us?  I, for one, am not giving up my green smoothies anytime soon.  I still eat a well-balanced diet the rest of the day!

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-green-smoothies-can-devastate-your-health/

One of the comments to this article was on-target with my own personal assessment, and I often rotate my greens.  I tend to believe that a healthy rotating of many different foods, not just greens, is best anyway.

“… In summary, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility that eating too much spinach too frequently may not be ideal, since every type of vegetable may have some potentially toxic component. In my own green smoothies or salads I strive for variety, rotating among spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, collard greens, or mixed lettuces on different days. Each type of green has a different nutrient profile, so it just makes sense not to stick with only one type. And if there’s any harmful substance in a particular leafy green, the rotation strategy minimizes exposure to it and gives the body more time to eliminate the toxin. In my opinion, the great benefits of dark, leafy greens for health and longevity far outweigh the potential risks, for people who haven’t received specific medical advice to avoid greens (and even that advice is sometimes not based on the best science).”

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Paleo Postpartum

I had an epiphany this week.  Several times I heard/saw/read references to people cutting back on carbs to assist with postpartum weight loss.  Hmm, I’ve done the Atkins diet before – definitely not my thing with my love of fruit – but they were not preaching drastic low-carb, just eliminating unnatural sugar and reducing starchy foods like bread, corn, and white potatoes.  I also just started reading “Eat Right for your Type“, a book about eating foods that are ideal for your blood type, and it listed grains and corn products as the biggest hindrance to weight loss for my B+ blood type.  Really?  Interestingly, I ate very little of these foods before I got pregnant.  I was on a mostly pescatarian diet (lots of fish and veggies), but during the nauseating first trimester, simple carbs (hello Fruit Loops!) were the only thing that appealed to me, and I’ve been eating more of them ever since.  Even though I’ve been counting calories, I have noticed recently that a whole lot of my calories are coming from simple carbs, mostly because they are easy and having a baby doesn’t leave me a lot of free time.  After my weekend popcorn binge, I was feeling incredibly bloated Monday.  Since then, I’ve drastically reduced my carbohydrate intake, getting it mostly from the fruit in my daily smoothies.  Even with little time for workouts, I feel much better after just a few days of carb-cutting!

A decade ago, the diet buzzword was “Atkins”, now it seems to be transitioning to “Paleo“.   They are very similar in that they promote more protein and low-carb, but Atkins (at least the modern version) allows for processed foods as long as they are low-carb, while Paleo is all about eating naturally.  Seems to me that was Dr. Atkins’ intent as well before commercialization took over and the company needed to sell more than just books, but I digress.  So is eating a “caveman cuisine” safe while pregnant or breastfeeding?  I found an interesting blog (click here) that explores this topic.  To summarize, yes, and it could actually be very beneficial.

paleo-food-paleolithic-nutrition-foodpyramid-1

 

I am not, and will never be, a lover of meat.  I could go the rest of my life without another piece of steak or chicken and be totally fine.  In fact, I spent a couple of years eating almost exclusively vegetarian and the only thing I really missed was fish, and the occasional cheeseburger.  Plus, after sampling just about every diet out there over the past decade, I’ve learned to just eat things in moderation and still get in the best shape of my life leading up to my pregnancy.  That being said, I DO think it’s time for some diet tweaking.  Just counting calories isn’t enough; it’s time to return to nature and re-adopt a more Paleo-friendly approach.  Only time will tell if I helps heal my body while still nourishing my baby!

My Love/Hate Relationship… with JUNK FOOD!

keep-calm-and-ignore-junk-food

 

When you think about eating healthy, it really doesn’t seem all that difficult.  We just have to put the right things in our mouths.  Somehow though, in our modern society of endless junk food surrounding us at all times, either literally or in advertising, it’s just plain HARD.  I don’t beat myself over splurging on a thoroughly enjoyed cheeseburger or ice cream cone every now and then, but I cannot stand when I mindlessly eat junk.  And worst of all, often that moment of weakness spirals into several days of junk.  This is all thanks to the chemicals in processed food that trigger us to crave more.  Lovely.

junk food

 

That being said, I had one of these such moment Saturday night.  After an awesome week and a great 6-mile run that morning, I was enjoying a rare, late-night movie and suddenly felt famished.  Was I really hungry or did my mind just tell me I was because I was watching a movie?  Cruel but true, our brains can trigger hunger cues when it recognizes a scenario where we often eat.  That’s why if you often eat in the car or when you first get home from work, you’ll find that you will usually be “hungry” when you’re in that scenario, even if you shouldn’t be.  So back to the movie (a scenario where I often snack)… It started innocently enough with a bag of Smart Pop popcorn, then I remembered the sinful and very stale chocolate-covered popcorn I had recently discovered in the back of my pantry, long forgotten and missed in the last pantry purge.  So knowing my husband and I both have issues with portion control, I put some in a small bowl and returned to the movie.  We quickly devoured that and suddenly I was even more hungry.  Next thing I know we’ve got the entire huge (and I mean HUGE) bucket of chocolate covered popcorn between us and I’ve made a major dent.  Feeling a little sick by the end of the movie, I put it away and vowed to work it off the next morning.

 

After a good bike ride climbing crazy Tennessee hills the next morning, I was worn out and felt redeemed, but within an hour I was once again craving that chocolate covered popcorn.  Oh well, I earned a few pieces right?  After a hearty serving, we went out for huge, delicious cheeseburgers, tater tots, and milkshakes, and then did a little shopping where I got to feel very guilty looking at my bloated self in the dressing room mirror.  Oh my goodness, stop the madness!  Moral of the story, even a little bit of junk food is too much, not because that little bit will make you fat (it won’t) but because it will probably make you crave much more.  And when I talk about junk, I’m mostly talking about sugar and processed foods.  It’s interesting to me that if you do an Internet search for “junk food”, most of the pictures will be of a cheeseburger and fries, but I would argue that the sugar is far, far worse for our health than the burger.  At least it has some redeeming qualities like protein, iron and calcium.  That’s a heck of a lot more than my popcorn!  Now that I think about it, the rest of that popcorn is going in the trash as soon as I get home!

popcorn